Aisle Of Wit

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…Now It’s Time To Catch ’22

Well, here we are.  2022 at last.  And damn you, 2021, did you HAVE to take the last survivor of the cast of THE GOLDEN GIRLS and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW with you as you skulked out the back door in shame?

If there is any solace in losing Betty White just a few weeks before she hit the century mark (and making a People Magazine cover as sadly non-precient as the Chicago Tribune’s DEWEY BEATS TRUMAN), it’s that almost every entity she was associated with already had written her obituary years in advance.

Ten years ago when I joined Game Show Network one of the first assignments I got when Betty turned 90 was to be sure we had all the episodes and interstitials for the inevitable memorial marathon.  As we quickly lost genre legends Bob Stewart, Dick Clark and Richard Dawson within months of each other, I suppose that was something we had to do. Betty outlasted them all, as well as the tenures of myself and all of my superiors.  (John Zaccario, if you’re still thinking of airing it, at least that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about this weekend.  That file’s been ready for a while).  Well, I know I can draw inspiration from her resiliency.

So enough about saying goodbye.  In 2021 I said goodbye to 30 pounds of excess weight, droughts of seeing live sporting events , in-person connections with friends and family around the US, and tens of thousands of dollars in savings.  I was pushed to my emotional and financial limits and beyond.  The sun did indeed come out–in fact, it’s rising over Los Angeles as I tap this.  So my one prediction yesterday for 2022 did come true. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

Rather than offer resolutions, which often come with the baggage of inevitable failure, I think I’ll offer just this thought:  I’M TIRED.

I’m tired of COVID-19 (I think we all are?).  I’m tired of extreme weather and abundance of caution aborting desired travel plans.  I’m tired of incessant arguing between political factions constantly forcing their polarized views on masks, vaccines, elections and CRT on each other.

I’m tired of inconsistencies in how and why we enforce these rules.  As the esteemed Bill Simmons opined on his podcast this week, how much sense does it make for airlines to be so dligent as to throw people like me off planes because my mask fell below my nose WHILE I WAS SLEEPING during a two-hour takeoff delay (true!), yet the moment the chance to sell us overpriced drinks and snacks it’s safe for the majority of passengers to drop their masks and breathe and cough while they choke on overly spiced chex mix?  How are we supposed to blindly trust the logic to pivot on a decision to halve the recommended time for quarantine post-exposure which just HAPPENS to coincide with the realization that we don’t have enough testing kits and the American workforce (not to mention professional sports) was rapidly running out of “approved” employees?  And am I really that horrible a person to even offer these questions up for debate?

 I’m tired of fighting to be paid what I’m contractually and legally owed.  I’m tired of being bullied into submission of the realities of the debts I’ve incurred.  I’m tired of having to scramble to scrape up enough just to eat healthy and feed my need to travel.   I like seeing new stadiums, new landmarks and old friends.  When I ran qualitative test groups I insisted on being on site, often traveling to as many as four different cities in a week.  Not just to maximize T&E (though that did play a role).  I learned more about the progress of my shows and networks by personally interacting with cabbies, valets, ushers and waiters than I did from paid respondents.  I passionately believe you get a far better picture of what you’re studying by being close-up and on land rather than through a zoom call or from 30,000 feet up.

I’m tired of living in a city that is so spooked by Omicron that they are practically shrieking at me to never leave my home.  Plenty of cities have less stringent rules and their infection rates are not appreciably different.  I’m triple vaxxed.  You want to give me a fourth, go right ahead.  I admit I have interacted with unvaxxed people.  I’ve tested every single time and every single time I’ve come up negative, and no one has yet to inform me that I was cited as a close contact.  So come on, LA.  Do better or I’m done.

I’m tired of being told “we went in another direction”  or “the job’s on hold” or “the pandemic forced us out of business” from every job I’ve applied to in 2021.  I know I need to work.  Ideally at a full-time gig, secondarily with consulting, perhaps with both.  I don’t want social security.  I don’t want charity.  Frankly, I’m too good to be on the sidelines this long.  So as tactfully as social media will allow me to urge–somebody HIRE ME.  Tell me what you want to know or do and when you want it.  Use e-mail, text, phone, zoom, What’s App, telegram, Messenger, smoke signals.  I don’t care.  As you’ve just read, I like to travel.  I also like fine dining, long walks, good face-to-face conversation and, yes, a few hugs and kisses (and then some?).  That all costs money.  I want to make it.  I need to make it.

So as you take this in and take a look at images of the many top athletes that have worn #22 over their careers, I’m ready to put on my own virtual jersey and tackle this year with a degree of determination and resolve unlike any other previous one.  I’m pretty sure that’s how Betty White chose to live her life, and I’d offer it’s damn good advice for any of us to heed.

I know I need to do better.  Now that I’ve lost some weight, I need to sculpt.  Now that I’ve got some style, I need to allow those more stylish to dress me.  Now that I have some tools to produce content, I need to add a few more.  A ring light, a microphone, and a musical keyboard are at the top of my list.  Maybe a second screen for my laptop.  A selfie stick and a remote phone holder.  Maybe a full home office if I do relocate.

And I definitely need to listen more.  I’ve gotten pretty good at telling you what I think.  Now I’m challenging you to tell me what YOU think.  There are links to send feedback to this contained within this site.  Some of you have already done that, thank you.  I’d respectfully request more choose to do so.  Particularly if you have leads toward or perhaps a need of your own where you’re able to pay me or offer direction or advice to get payment from those who can.

Sun’s up.  Time to strap it on.  Let’s go.  Bring it on, 2022.  You’re my bitch now.  Someone has to step in for Betty.

Until next time…